Evgeny A. Freidman, a business associate of longtime Trump attorney Michael Cohen, has agreed to cooperate as a witness in various state and federal investigations, which will likely include the FBI’s current probe into Cohen.
“Mr. Freidman has been Mr. Cohen’s partner in the taxi business for years, managing cabs for him even after New York City regulators barred Mr. Freidman last year from continuing to manage medallions,” the New York Times reports. “Mr. Freidman, who was disbarred earlier this month, had been accused of failing to pay more than $5 million in taxes and faced four counts of criminal tax fraud and one of grand larceny — all B felonies. Each carries a maximum prison sentence of up to 25 years in prison.”
Often referred to as the “Taxi King,” Freidman reportedly owns the largest fleet of taxis in New York City.
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“Do you understand the nature of the benefit your attorneys have accomplished on your behalf?” Albany County Court Judge Patrick Lynch asked the Russian-American businessman.
Mr. Freidman responded, “I greatly understand that and appreciate it.”
Former FBI Director Robert Mueller may use Freidman to assist the special counsel’s investigation into Russia meddling during the 2016 presidential election.
Criminal investigators are getting their first look at materials gathered from raids on the home and office of Cohen, President Donald Trump’s personal lawyer, determining which items are protected by attorney-client privilege.
In a few days, U.S. District Judge Kimba M. Wood will preside over a fourth hearing resulting from Cohen’s efforts to gain influence over what potential evidence seized in the April 9 raids can be deemed privileged and thus blocked from the view of criminal prosecutors. Prosecutors say they are investigating possible fraud as they study Cohen’s personal business dealings.
President Donald Trump was highly critical of the raid, labeling it a disgrace and an “attack on our country.”
“They broke into the office of one of my personal attorneys, a good man, and it’s a disgraceful situation,” President Trump told reporters back in April.
“It’s a total witch hunt. I’ve been saying it for a long time. I’ve wanted to keep it down. We’ve given, I believe, over a million pages’ worth of documents to the special counsel.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.